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From technology newcomers to data-driven wearable devices: The US healthcare market is quickly evolving

By Jay Reinholt

The healthcare sector is being shaken up by recent tech-driven developments. For instance, U.S. pharma companies, such as Walgreens, CVS, and Rite-Aid recently lost $12 billion in value off the back of the news that Amazon will be buying PillPack. This further highlights the pressure that traditional healthcare companies and providers are under to compete with agile newcomers who are threatening their market share. These new global digital health delivery entrants are predicted to generate $536.6 billion by the end of 2025.

To combat this threat, traditional providers and carriers are introducing new technology, such as wearable devices, to cater to evolving consumer expectations and to compete in a rapidly changing healthcare environment. This is being largely affected by soaring healthcare costs and pressure for more value-based care.
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But when it comes to new digital solutions, prevention really is better than a cure – and with this is mind, it’s important that wearable devices enable remote monitoring of patient health and real-time access to health records, in order to speed up diagnoses and treatment.

Patients no longer need to be connected to an industrial clinical device in order to be diagnosed and treated. "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) is enabling patients to become more empowered, by being able to monitor their own health. By extending practitioner and patient interaction through patient smartphones, healthcare executives can streamline communication, which, in turn, leads to enhanced patient engagement and creates a more efficient work flow process for the care provider.

Despite the ability for practitioner and patient communication through smartphones, wearable devices within healthcare require rigorous regulatory processes to obtain FDA approval. These regulatory hurdles are connected to the type and quality of data generated by wearable devices and its relevance and applicability in a clinical setting.

The potential of wearables very much depends upon the quality of data and its relevance for both the patient and health care provider. But if the data cannot be deciphered by the patient, it entirely defeats the point of efficiency and creates a poor user experience.

To ensure seamless integration, healthcare providers can use technology-enabled systems to integrate various streams of medical data, to create a more efficient work flow process. This will also allow increased transparency for different medical professionals to have access, allowing for more informed decision-making and collation of consumer data.

The adoption of technology-enabled systems will equip decision-makers within the healthcare sector with the tools to revamp their clinical operating models that hold their data. This will allow them to deliver scalable, efficient, and high-quality patient care while reducing operational costs.

Hospitals and healthcare providers must partner with the apt digital transformation/Business Process Outsourcing firms that can integrate domain experience with RPA and automation solutions, to orchestrate a balance of technology, data and human talent – and provide an optimized customer experience.

About the author: Jay Reinholt oversees business development for healthcare services at Intelenet Global Services.

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